CAREER AND FUTURE PLANNING

7 Questions You May Want to Ask a Financial Professional

When you have myasthenia gravis, planning for financial circumstances may be beneficial, and there are professionals who may be able to help you.

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with myasthenia gravis (MG), there may be many financial considerations to think about. If you feel like you could use some guidance, you may decide to hire a financial professional. They might be able to help determine if you have some options you hadn’t already thought about.

If you do decide to speak with a financial professional, knowing some of the right questions to ask them can be a great place to start. Remember, before talking to a financial professional, be sure to ask how they charge for their services and what you may have to pay for an initial consult.

This article and the following points to think about are not financial advice. Only a financial professional who understands your unique financial circumstances will be able to provide you with knowledgeable recommendations.

1. Do I qualify for short-term disability through my insurance?

If your myasthenia gravis symptoms limit you from working for a period of time you may qualify for short-term disability benefits through your insurance. Short-term disability is a type of insurance benefit that provides partial income replacement if you are unable to work.1 Learn about disability benefits at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. There are requirements and restrictions that apply when seeking short-term disability. Please see a financial professional for more information.

2. Do I qualify for for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits?

If your myasthenia gravis symptoms completely prevent you from working, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If you choose to apply and are approved, you’ll be eligible to receive a monthly stipend from the SSA2. To find out more information or to see if you qualify, talk to a financial professional or go to the SSA website.

3. I’m receiving SSA disability benefits—do I qualify for an ABLE account?

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which passed into law in 2014, allows people receiving SSA disability benefits to save money in ABLE accounts*. These tax-advantaged savings plans—distributions, including earnings, are tax-free— cover certain disability-related costs like education, housing and transportation. To qualify for an ABLE account, the onset of your disability must occur before you turn 26 years old.3 To find out more information or to see if you qualify, talk to a financial professional or go to the ABLE website.

4. Am I able to go on Medicare early?

Medicare is health insurance offered by the government that’s available to all people aged 65 and older. But going on Medicare before you reach age 65 may be an option for you, depending on your MG symptoms and whether you’re receiving SSA disability benefits.4 Make sure to speak with a financial professional about what is best for you or go to the Medicare website to learn more.

5. Should I invest my savings or keep them instantly available in case of an emergency?

Myasthenia gravis can be difficult to predict, so having savings available to you in case you are unable to work or have extra medical bills may be helpful. However, you may want to consider investment opportunities, like lifecycle funds, bonds or stocks.1 Learn about the different investment choices at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website and speak to a financial professional about what is best for you.

6. Am I able to deduct medical expenses from my taxes?

Depending on your medical bills and income, you may be able to deduct certain medical expenses from your taxes. For more information on disability tax benefits, visit the IRS website. A financial professional will be able to review your tax situation and other possible deductions and provide guidance on whether or not this is an option for you.

7. Should I plan for or invest in early retirement?

You can choose to start receiving Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 at a reduced amount.5 Your company retirement plan may also offer early retirement options, and some plans may waive the penalty for early retirement if it’s due to a medical condition like MG. Deciding when to start receiving retirement benefits is a personal decision. Make sure to speak with a financial professional about what is best for you or go to the Social Security Administration website to learn more.

Are there any other options that I should consider?

It’s important to remember that the points above are a guide and are not financial advice. Restrictions and qualifications are based on your own financial circumstances. A financial professional may be able to help answer questions you have about your finances and offer guidance on the best routes to take based on your unique situation.

*ABLE accounts, which are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families, were created as a result of the passage of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, better known as the ABLE Act. The beneficiary of the account is the account owner, and income earned by the accounts will not be taxed. Contributions to the account, which can be made by any person (the account beneficiary, family, friends, special needs trust or pooled trust), must be made using post-taxed dollars and will not be tax deductible for purposes of federal taxes; however, some states may allow for state income tax deductions for contributions made to an ABLE account.

References

  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. National Compensation Survey: Glossary of Employee Benefit Terms. Accessed July 7, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/ncs/ebs/glossary20162017.htm.
  2. Social Security Administration. Disability Benefits. Accessed May 28, 2021. https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/.
  3. ABLE National Resource Center. About ABLE Accounts. Accessed May 28, 2021. https://www.ablenrc.org/what-is-able/what-are-able-acounts/.
  4. Medicare.gov. What’s Medicare. Accessed May 28, 2021. https://www.medicare.gov/what-medicare-covers/your-medicare-coverage-choices/whats-medicare.
  5. Social Security Administration. Learn About Retirement Benefits. Accessed May 28, 2021. https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/learn.html#h1.
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